My 6th year joining this event since it’s inception in 2008. Every year, my target was to run faster than the previous year and hopefully receive a “potential winner” tag at the finishing line. Last year, I did 41:15mins. I remembered blogging about the race too (read it here).
The concept for this year’s Nike Run was innovative and something out of ordinary. Runners have the options to choose their route at three different points. Distance may vary slightly due to the different route. There were even fancy terms at each split points. Sounds interesting huh? Check out the race route below:
Just to share, this is also my first (and only) 10km race this year! So after couple of marathons, half marathons, 25km and 32km races, I was quite excited to run and see how I would fare for a 10km race. “Will I do better than last year?”
I did a 37km long run (albeit a slow one) a day before and I wasn’t sure if I could achieve a new PB this time round. So I was prepared to just run with feel, to go fast if I could, and just slow down if I couldn’t keep up.
3 November 2013 – Race day
Jackie and I arrived at Singapore Flyer at about 6am and deposited our bags. Bumped into many friends from Safra, Charles, Cecilia, Andy Tan, Daniel, Yvonne, Ray, GP and friends. Chatted with them for a while before we proceeded to the race pen together. While waiting, Jackie and I also caught up with Ronnie and Randall. At 6.45am, the race pen open and we jogged towards the starting line.
Said Hi to Michele Tan who was just standing behind us. Ah Siao and Gen came in not long after and stood beside Jackie. Nike sponsored elite athletes, Anne, Vivian, Mok Ying Rong also entered the pen after warming up.
At close to 7am, we were star-struck when Allyson Felix, Olympic Gold Medalist arrived in a vehicle in front of all of us, making a pretty cool entrance as she joined the two emcees on the stage to flag us off. 7 minutes to 7:15am, I decided it is time to take my gel when suddenly emcee was announcing it was 75 secs to flag off. Seems like we are starting the race earlier than 7:15am. I panicked a bit then as I had trouble tearing open the packet of gel and I had not even threw away my bottle of water. Few seconds to count down, I realised my Garmin has lost its satellite. Fortunately, managed to detect the satellite at the exact moment the horn sounded.
I took a step and noticed that the starting line banner was not yet on the ground where it should be, but rather a few inches “floating” above ground. Instinctively, I hopped over the banner gingerly. (Good thing, I was kind of distracted by the lost satellite so I was not in a hurry to dash out.) But there were already many runners shoving and pushing their way to start their race. Then, I realised something was amiss. Jackie was no where in sight! It all happened very quickly. I saw Jackie sprawled on the ground, runners whizzing by us while Gen and Ah Siao tried to pull him up. Shocked, I tried to help him up from behind, telling runners to stop before they came trampling over him. Gen managed to pull Jackie up within seconds. He shot off when Jackie was back on his feet. It was really nice of him to offer a helping hand, sacrificing precious seconds especially when he stood a good chance for a podium finish.
Anyway, drama over. Jackie seemed alright. We ran together for a while before he shot off and disappeared into the crowd. I continued running with the flow and had to wait till I reached a right turn before I could throw away my bottle safely without obstructing anyone. Heard Terence calling out to me. Not long after, I ran past Roger and he asked about Jackie’s condition. Spotted Boon Wee and asked him to run together with me. Adrenaline could have got better of me and I realised I was doing 4:10″/km pace for my first km.
Almost reaching the first u-turn, I could see the faster runners over at the other side. Glad that Gen has managed to catch up with the lead pack and was running as a pack with them. There were a few more guys trailing behind. And then many more. Finally, spotted Jackie and we cheered for each other as we ran past each other. After a while, I also saw Michele Tan running hard over the other side. She was fast! And I was still quite a distance away!
Did my u-turn and finally it feels less congested on the road. Spotted many more familiar faces this time round over the other side. Yvonne, Jiahui etc. Boon Wee overtook me and ran ahead strongly, quickly disappearing from sight. At about 3km mark, I saw Xavier ahead of me and cheered for him as I ran past. By then, my average pace has dropped to 4:15″/km. Which was fine as this pace seemed less daunting and I probably could keep up with this till end of the race. Shortly after, I saw some signages to inform runners that it was time to pick our route. I chose “Follow the pack”, where I guess majority of the runners might also pick this route.
Slowly overtook a few more girls ahead. But I could not seem to find Michele Tan. Is she way ahead of me? Runners merged together after a short while. A distance away, I spotted Daniel from MF Safra. I could recognise him from his back. He was going strong! And eventually I saw him overtaking a female runner ahead. At first, I thought she was Michele Tan. But on 2nd look, she’s dark and quite tall, definitely not Michele. I guess she might be speedy Renuka. Boon Wee was also running well, a bit ahead of Daniel. I tried to keep the both of them in sight.
At 6.5km mark, came the selection of the running route again. Renuka who was a few metres ahead of me went on to “Rule the City” while Boon Wee, Daniel and I picked “Own the Park”. I pressed on to chase after Daniel who was now just a few steps ahead of me. I was surprised when I passed the 7km marker because it seemed to come too quickly. Normally for a 10km race, I would be exhausted and out of breath by 7km, but surprisingly I was still feeling good. At the hydration point, after grabbing my cup of water, I overtook Daniel and cheered for him to press on. I ran on to chase after Boon Wee. Across the canal on my left, I spotted Jackie far away, running strong. He waved to me and I waved back to acknowledge.
Up the ramp and I finally caught up with Boon Wee as we exited the park. Only about 2 km more to go! Time to speed up! After encouraging Boon Wee to press on, I ran on, feeling more energised. I really like the idea of the splits as it kinda sort of distracted me from the distance ahead. I find myself looking forward to choosing my route at the various split points rather than looking out for distance markers, seeing how far more to go. I was enjoying every bit of the run and soaking in the race atmosphere. Feel the wind and joy. Yes, that’s the way how races should be.
Shortly after, I arrived at the last split point at 8.5km. Almost picked “Rock your Run” instead as I could not see the words clearly from far. I went on to take the route “Dance to the Finish” on the right as planned. I was quite surprised that this route lead us to an underground tunnel. Music was played and there were many volunteers cheering hard for runners. It was a joy to roll down the hill and cruise up again. Up the slope and I could see the “finish” sign from afar.
As I approached the finishing line, I could see the clock ticking away, 40:38..40:39. It was then I realised that I stood a good chance to finish my race in under 41mins! Elated, I sprinted all the way to the end. Completed my 10km race with an official gun time of 40 min 54 sec (net time: 40 min 44 sec). I received a potential winner tag and was told that I was fourth.
Since runners had the option of choosing different routes, I thought Michele Tan and Renuka had already finished their race ahead of me. It did not occur to me that I could have already passed them when we chose different routes. After all, both were very strong competitors – Renuka, 2nd in her category (under 25 years old) last year and Michele finished one position ahead of me last year.
So all were forgotten when I found Jackie at the medical tent. After the medic cleaned his wounds, we met up with the rest of Safra runners, collected our bags and went on to queue at the photo booth to take a photo as a memento.
It was until later when we were about to leave for breakfast, we decided to check out the results. While making our way to the information counter, Jackie received a phone call from Kelvin who shared the unexpected and wonderful news that I was third for my category (>25 years old women)!
What a pleasant surprise! So we hurriedly went to the stage for verification and also joined the rest of the winners for prize presentation.
The third fastest female is Mok Ying Rong, who finished in 40:20 min and she came in 1st for her (under 25 yr old) category. I was telling Ying Rong how fortunate I was that she was in a different category from me. Or else, I wouldn’t have a chance to be on podium.